Cavaliers KO OKC at The Q
Wrap-Up – On Saturday night against one of the league’s best, Marreese Speights set ‘em up and Kyrie Irving knocked ‘em down. Speights scored eight points in less than three minutes during a key fourth-quarter run and Kyrie cleaned up down the stretch – netting nine of his game-high 35 points in the final two minutes to propel Cleveland to the thrilling 115-110 victory over Kevin Durant and the Thunder at The Q.
One night after tallying just a single field goal attempt in the second half of a loss in Detroit, Irving did just the opposite on Saturday – notching 23 points in the second half, 13 in the fourth quarter.
His free throws with 2:52 to play gave Cleveland the lead. But after Kyrie’s layup put the Cavs up three – 108-105 – Durant drilled a three-pointer to tie the game with 1:26 to play. Irving scored on another layup to untie the game and then – reminiscent of his game-winner in Toronto – Irving confidently canned a long three-pointer with 42 seconds to play, giving the Cavaliers enough breathing space for the win.
Kyrie was 12-of-23 from the floor – including 3-of-5 from long-distance – and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the stripe. Speights finished with 21 points and 10 boards and C.J. Miles finished with 16 points off his own – both off Byron Scott’s bench. Tristan Thompson doubled-up with 11 points and 12 boards and Dion Waiters rounded out the Cavs in double-figures with 12 points, six boards, six assists and a pair of steals.
Turning Point – After trailing by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, the Cavaliers – keyed again by their reserves – began to make their move to end the period. Keyed by Wayne Ellington, Miles and Speights, the second unit started of fourth on 16-6 run, leading to a season-high 39 points in the period. Despite the scoring, the Cavaliers weren’t able to run away from the high-octane Thunder. The fourth featured six ties and seven lead changes before Kyrie took over in the closing seconds.
Game Ball – Marreese Speights – Speights has been better-than-advertised since arriving in a trade on January 22 – netting double-figures in all five games and averaging 15.4 points per contest in that span. On Saturday, Speights gave the Cavaliers both a physical and emotional lift – netting 13 of his 21 points in the fourth period, going 6-of-8 from the floor. He added 10 boards, three helpers and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – 16 … Games played by the Cavaliers on zero days’ rest – most in the NBA to this point. With his performance on Saturday, Tristan Thompson is tied with Joakim Noah for most double-doubles on zero days’ rest with seven.
Quotable – Marreese Speights, on his desire to play here and what he’s noticed now that he is …
“A lot of people don’t know that I’m the one who signed off on getting traded. I came here because I knew they had a young team; great city; great fans and I always wanted to be here.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers get a rare three-day break before welcoming the Bobcats to The Q on Wednesday night – the second game of a seven-game homestand. On Friday night, the Cavs welcome the Magic and take on George Karl’s Nuggets on night later.